Facebook announced through its blog earlier this week that it has started utilizing user survey feedback as a ranking signal to determine how items show up in a Facebook user’s News Feed. Facebook is being very proactive by ensuring that users see the "most relevant stories” in their News Feeds.
While these changes may be great for Facebook users, the impact on Facebook business pages is unclear. Below is a quote from the Facebook blog:
Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed.
In my opinion, these changes to the News Feed algorithm will likely diminish organic visibility of Facebook business pages. Just last month, site analytics showed that Facebook referral traffic to the Papercut site had dropped over 44% year over year.
Don’t Panic, There Are Options
This shift in how Facebook displays content in the News Feed makes it very clear that user experience is essential to the company. What is becoming more evident is the importance of advertising to reach Facebook followers. There are a few tools that Facebook has to help businesses do this:
Boosting posts is a pretty simple concept. If you have personally managed any advertising on Facebook, you’ve likely done this. You get a couple of different choices by just clicking on the “boost post” option. Reaching out to people that like your page, friends of people that like your page, and a predefined audience are all options in boost posts. The boost post really is meant to be simple; it's essentially a Facebook Ad on autopilot. Success with boost posting comes down to knowing what you are trying to achieve by clicking that button, which means that results are mixed.
Advanced Custom Targeting
A lot of business owners, and even marketing specialists, have lamented the effectiveness of boost posts. Because of this, Facebook offers far more robust advertising options, allowing additional functionality if you are using the Ad Manager. There a more sophisticated options like custom audiences, which allow you to create a more specific audience based on interests, demographics or even customer databases.
Remarketing campaigns can help you fully capitalize on your customer databases. Remarketing links email lists and other customer databases with Facebook. This allows targeted ads to be put in front of existing customers or prospects, depending on what kind of list you are using. I did a full post on remarketing if you’d like to read more about the topic.
With this News Feed announcement, we fully expect the drop in Facebook organic referral traffic to continue. If Facebook is a significant part of your advertising strategy, investing further into advertising is key to retaining and growing your audience on the platform.